I danced with Sam Smith last night and it was incredible.
I have been to many concerts in the past, but I can officially say that Monday night has taken the number one spot. There are so many things that he did well on that stage in Broomfield, culminating in a night that will not soon be forgotten.
The opening act was George Ezra, whose song “Budapest” has been on repeat on my Spotify for weeks now. He is a talented performer on the rise, so it’s my sincere hope that this tour gives him some more exposure; he certainly deserves it.
About a half hour after Ezra opened, Sam Smith slowly appeared behind a sheer curtain as the lights rose and “Life Support” began. I was immediately blown away by his voice. I’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between his studio recordings and high quality live recordings.
He was powerful, steady and confident in his delivery of the first song and in each song that followed. Essentially, he is somewhat of a male version of Adele, which is meant as a compliment.
One of the greatest aspects of his performance was the way he spiced up his songs, as seen in “La La La.” It was not anything like the studio recording with the hypnotic “la’s” on loop. Instead, he gave a jazzy rendition of the song.
“Latch” was slower than the album version, but even more heartfelt and determined. My favorite additions were the notes that he changed to showcase his incredible vocal range, such as his embellishment at the end of “I’m Not the Only One.”
The only criticism I have seen about his live performances so far has been his lack of “stage presence.” I put quotes around that phrase because it is so relative. In my opinion, Smith’s stage presence was so large and welcoming that it felt as though he was performing in an intimate theater, as opposed to an arena. Stage presence is truly decided by the audience in attendance, and I think most people would agree that Sam Smith’s engagement and immersion were absolutely on point.
No, he does not jump around stage or scream into the microphone to get the audience pumped up. Instead, he makes it known to his fans just how important they are to him. Between songs, he would pause to explain where his songs came from emotionally, and it allowed me to connect to his music on a completely different level. There were several times where the relatability and intensity of the emotions in the songs almost brought me to tears.
Throughout the show, he described the all-too-familiar feeling of unrequited love, and when he got to his ballad “Make it to Me”— one of the more hopeful numbers — Smith stated that after all of the heartbreak, he decided to end his album on a positive note, writing this song as “a love letter to the first ever person who loves me back, whoever he may be.”
His performance was real and raw and true to his persona as a musician. He did not need to impress with an ornate stage, elaborate costumes or fancy choreography. When he stood on stage and asked the entire crowd to side step with him as he sang, it was all the magic I needed: a beautiful voice coming from a beautiful soul and thousands of others appreciating it right alongside me.
If you get the chance see him on this tour or in the future, I would absolutely recommend going to see this man perform. He is truly talented, something that can be hard to come by in mainstream music these days.
Collegian A&E Writer Aubrey Shanahan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @aubs926.